Mediterranean Chicken Yogurt Marinade

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This Mediterranean chicken Greek yogurt marinade is a delicious way to add flavor and tenderness to your chicken. The Greek yogurt, spices and garlic create a tangy, creamy marinade that perfectly compliments juicy chicken breasts and thighs.

Why Make This Marinade?

  1. Delicious Flavor: The combination of spices, garlic and lemon juice in the marinade creates a delicious and tangy flavor that perfectly complements chicken
  2. Extra Health Benefits: Greek yogurt is high in protein and calcium, making it a perfect addition for adding extra protein to your diet in a healthy way. The extra virgin olive oil also contains lots of healthy monounsaturated fats.
  3. Easy to Make: All the spices and ingredients are likely ones you already have in your kitchen. It only takes a few minutes to make, plus the marinating and cooking of the chicken.
  4. Very Versatile: This marinade can be used for a variety of chicken dishes, such as grilled chicken, baked chicken, chicken skewers, chicken thighs and more. It pairs very nicely with a whole range of recipes too, like these Greek Fries with Tzatziki Sauce or these Air Fryer Peppers and Onions.

Ingredients (+ Substitutions)

A simple combination of warm spices, fresh garlic, onions, and citrus make up the marinade for this Mediterranean grilled chicken recipe. Here is what you need for the marinade:

  • Chicken: You can use whatever chicken you prefer, whether that’s chicken thighs, chicken breasts or a whole chicken. The cooking time will differ, however.
  • Greek yogurt: I love the taste and health benefits of Greek yogurt, but any plain milk yogurt will work to create this marinade.
  • Spices: paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and oregano all combine to bring some warm and bold flavors.
  • Lemon juice: This provides the flavor and acidity whilst helping to tenderize the chicken.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is always great but if you don’t have time, then you substitute it with a teaspoon of garlic powder. 
  • Olive oil: We’re big fans of using extra virgin olive oil for the taste and health benefits. Good olive oil will help blend the different flavors and help them adhere to the chicken thighs.

How to Make This Mediterranean Chicken Yogurt Marinade

This is such an easy way to add tons of flavor to your chicken. Transform them into a mouth-watering Mediterranean masterpiece with just a few ingredients and steps.

Step 1: Combine the marinade ingredients: Add the Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cinnamon, paprika, dried coriander, cumin, oregano and black pepper to a large bowl. Whisk everything together until combined.

Step 2: Add the chicken: Add the chicken to the marinade. Ensure all parts of the chicken are submerged in the marinade.

Step 3: Leave to marinade: If you have the time, cover the bowl and place in a fridge. The longer you leave it the better, but even 10 minutes of marinating will add flavor to the outside of the chicken. Between 3-6 hours is optimal and maximum is 24 hours, so you can leave overnight.

Step 4: Cook the chicken: Bring the chicken out of the fridge and set aside to for a few minutes to reach room temperature. You can cook the chicken in multiple ways. If on the stovetop and the chicken is sliced, cook each side for 5 minutes for a total of 10 minutes if the chicken is sliced. If the breast is whole, you will need longer. If in the oven, cook for 25 minutes at 425°F or 220°C.

Step 5: Let Rest and Serve: Let the chicken rest a few minutes to let the juices redistribute, then serve.


How Long Should I Let the Chicken Marinade?

  • At least 10-15 minutes will allow the outside to get some flavor.
  • Preferably marinate chicken breast for at least 2-8 hours.
  • Marinating should not last more than 24 hours as the marinade starts breaking down the meat fibers and makes it more mushy

How Should I Store It?

Use an airtight container to store the chicken in the fridge and reheat over a medium heat until warmed through when you want to eat it again.

How Long Will It Last In the Fridge?

Good chicken lasts up to 4 days in the fridge.

Can I Freeze It?

Yes. Place the chicken and marinade in a freezer-safe bag and store for up to 4 months

Should I Poke Holes in the Chicken Before Marinading?

No, you don’t need to, as the marinade penetrates by itself. 

Should I Use Full-Fat Yogurt?

No, you don’t have to, but full-fat yogurt does tend to keep the chicken more moist and flavorful. If you don’t want to use any yogurt, these crispy chicken thighs or these sweet and spicy cranberry chicken wings are highly recommended alternatives!

What to Serve With Yogurt Marinated Mediterranean Chicken

Chicken is such a versatile food that you can pair it with almost anything, but here are some of our favorite Mediterranean-style side dishes.

Yield: 2

Mediterranean Chicken Yogurt Marinade

Mediterranean Chicken Yogurt Marinade

This Mediterranean chicken yogurt marinade is an easy way to take your chicken to the next level. Combining Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic and multiple spices, it'll add extra layers of flavor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 minute
Total Time 26 minutes


  • ½ cup (120g) Greek yogurt
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp dried coriander
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts


  1. Prepare the marinade: cut the chicken into equal-sized strips, then add the Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic, spices, salt and pepper into a bowl a mix together thoroughly. 
  2. Marinade the chicken: Add the chicken strips into the bowl and coat them in the marinade. Cover, then leave in the fridge to marinade. Try and marinade for at least 30 minutes, but a few hours or overnight will be even tastier. If you can not leave the chicken to marinate, then go straight to cooking.
  3. Cook the chicken: Bring the chicken out of the fridge and set it aside for a few minutes to reach room temperature. You can cook the chicken in multiple ways:
  4. On the stovetop: heat a pan with some olive oil. If you cut the chicken into strips, then cook on a medium-high heat and cook each side for about 5 minutes for a total of 10 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken needs to be165°F or 74°C to be fully cooked through.
  5. In the oven: Preheat the oven to 425°F or 220°C, then cook the chicken on a baking tray for 25 minutes or until place the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F or 74°C.


  • Pound the chicken instead: You don’t have to cut the chicken into strips, but if you do cook the breast whole, use a mallet to pound the chicken into a smaller thickness so that it will cook faster.
  • Zest the lemon first: Zest the lemon before you juice it as it can be a bit more difficult to zest afterward. If you don’t want any seeds, juice the lemon into your hands so you can remove them.
  • Brush grilled chicken with extra oil: If the chicken dries out during the cooking process, add a light bit of extra oil to restore moisture.
  • Don’t reuse leftover chicken marinade: since the marinade has already been in contact with raw chicken, be sure to dispose of it after use.
  • Cooking times can vary: The thickness of the chicken will affect the cooking time. Thin strips as described in the cooking process will take about 5 minutes each side, but this will be higher if it’s a full chicken breast. You can also use a digital thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the chicken. The internal temperature should reach 165F (74C) once fully cooked.
  • Let the chicken rest after cooking: Give the chicken an extra few minutes after cooking to reabsorb and redistribute the juices and add even more flavor.
  • Nutrition Information



    Serving Size


    Amount Per Serving Calories 599Total Fat 39gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 31gCholesterol 105mgSodium 1357mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 18gProtein 40g

    Want More Delicious, Mediterranean Style Recipes?

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